Merging Past & Present Views of Bordeaux by Invisible Bordeaux

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There is currently a growing trend for old and new views to be merged so, with the precious technical help of colleague and friend Anthony Poulachon, Invisible Bordeaux brings you this selection of pictures that mix and match old postcards with modern-day shots.

We start on Cours de l’Intendance and this attempt to bring first- and second-generation trams together! Look out for the charming selection of adverts on the wall over to the right. The moustachioed tram driver seems very focused on his job. Note the horse-drawn carts parked over to the right-hand side.

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This is Rue Buchou, looking down towards the twin bell towers of Sacré-Coeur parish church, originally built in 1870, one of many churches to be built during that second half of the 19th century as part of a drive led by the then Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Donnet.

The old picture predates the addition of two clocks. Try to spot the people on the left peering over the modern-day Toyota, and the children playing near the steps of the church!

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The immediate Right-Bank environment of the 1860 Passerelle Eiffel has changed beyond recognition. There is now wild greenery where there was once a gentle slope down to the water’s edge.

As well as vegetation and busy roads making it difficult to reproduce the old postcard view (circa 1908), there are now tents and homeless people sheltering where the gentlemen can be seen – so obviously I was reluctant to spend too much time there taking aim at them with my camera lens!

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When in its prime, Gare Saint-Louis was a grand structure that welcomed passengers travelling to and from the Médoc. The clock is long-gone and the 1930s building is now a run-down entrance to a Leclerc shopping centre, as recently documented on the blog.

What was a wide esplanade is now mainly used as a car park. Today’s lamp-posts are more or less in the same place!

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At first glance there may be nothing unusual about a Porsche 911 Carrera in the vicinity of Saint-Seurin basilica, except that it is about to drive past a statue depicting the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix.

The statue was erected there in 1890. It was given to the city by the widow of the sculptor of the work, François Mouly, in return for a plot for her deceased husband at Chartreuse cemetery. In 1942 the statue was a victim of the Second World War, when it was melted down and its bronze recycled.

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This merged shot shows Place Jean-Jaurès as it is today, with little more than a few benches and a glass entrance to an underground car park. But in the middle is the monument celebrating 19th-century French president Sadi Carnot, which was the centrepiece of the square from 1896 until, again, 1942 when its destiny matched that of the Vercingetorix statue.

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We finish off on Place Jean-Moulin, just off Place Pey-Berland, and the still-familiar sight of the “Gloria Victis” statue, which commemorates victims of the 1870 Franco-Prussian war. The bronze work is a replica of the 1875 piece by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié, first showcased at a Universal Exhibition and still visible in Paris (Petit Palais and Square Montholon).

The Bordeaux statue was first installed in 1886 and soon became a massive draw for pigeons and pigeon-fanciers! The pigeons are no longer there, but what can now be seen is the 3D bronze map/sculpture which is being photographed by the gentleman to the right of the picture.

Tim Pike is a Bordeaux-based Englishman whose website, Invisible Bordeaux, documents some of the lesser-known sights, people and stories connected with the city and its surrounding area. As well as the website itself, http://invisiblebordeaux.blogspot.fr/ can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

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